Archaeologists in Lima’s oldest neighborhoods have unearthed four remarkably well-preserved mummified children, believed to be at least 1,000 years old. This significant discovery was captured by Reuters and reported by various sources.
The children were discovered alongside an adult near a small hill, potentially leading to a hidden temple dating back around 3,500 years. The Huaca La Florida research project, led by archaeologist Luis Takuda, spearheaded the excavation, unveiling a ceremonial atrium that the Ychsma people considered sacred, using it as a burial ground for their dead.
“What we see here is that the whole area where we are now was a ceremonial atrium. It was a very important ceremonial atrium where the people who lived in the time of the Ychsma considered it a sacred space and therefore buried their dead here,” Takuda explained, according to Reuters.
The mummies, three of which were covered in textiles, while the remaining two were skeletons, displayed an extraordinary feature — their skulls still bore preserved hair. This finding adds a unique dimension to the archaeological exploration, reminiscent of a similar discovery earlier in the Miraflores district of Lima.
In this recent find, alongside the mummies, archaeologists uncovered red ceramics, emphasizing the ritualistic aspects of the burial.
The archaeological site, Huaca La Florida, is situated in close proximity to residences and a training field used by a professional soccer team. This illustrates the coexistence of ancient sacred sites, known as huacas, with modern urban life. The city of Lima, boasting around 400 huacas, provides a unique archaeological landscape.
Despite the historical significance of these sites, urban expansion has taken its toll on these sacred spaces. Hector Walde, an archaeologist not involved in this excavation, lamented the encroachment of modern development on these ancient sites. He told the AP., “They have suffocated them or they have cut them off.”
Contrary to misconceptions, these burials are not indicative of human sacrifices but rather represent normal burial practices within a sacred space. This aligns with other recent archaeological discoveries in Peru.
The Ychsma culture, with its roots in the central coast of Peru, flourished from around 1000 to 1400 CE.